When you hear that scurrying pitter-patter of tiny claws, you know you have an unwanted furry visitor invading your home. Mice leave a trail of filth and destruction wherever they go, and using a trap is an effective way to get that mouse out of your house!
But first, you have to set your trap so the mouse will be drawn to it. They are actually quite clever little rodents, so you need to make sure that whatever you put into the trap is going to work. Here are the top 12 baits that are irresistible to mice.
Not only is this the top item to use as bait, it deserves a special bit of recognition for the way it traps the mice. Firstly, it is absolutely irresistible for mice – they love it! Plus, it takes the mouse quite a lot of time to eat the sticky goodness, so the mouse won’t just grab the bit and run.
If you have a pet bird, you will know how far the seed can scatter. Mice can’t leave bird seed alone because it is easy for them to eat and they enjoy the taste of it.
Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds
These are like treats for the mouse. Anything they can nibble on, or can easily take back to their nest, they go for.
Mice seem to have quite a sweet tooth, so chocolate is a good food to put into a mouse trap. Like the peanut butter, it takes them a while to eat it too.
Any kind of breakfast cereal will work, but if it’s coated in sugar, it will be doubly effective.
Dog and Cat Food
Mice are also meat eaters and are often drawn to pet food that is left sitting in the bowls. So, pop some into the trap and the mice won’t be far away. For the best results, use the wet pet food rather than dry biscuits – they seem to prefer it!
Most types of sweets will attract mice, but they are particularly fond of jelly beans.
Again, those mice have quite a hankering for the sweet stuff! Make sure you break the cookies up into crumb sizes though, as that makes the mouse think he can sneak in and grab it and make a run for it. Silly mouse!
As long as they don’t spoil too quickly at room temperature, preserved meats from the deli are tempting for mice. Remember to check the bait regularly to make sure it hasn’t started to rot.
Crackers with Butter
Small pieces of cracker with a tiny bit of butter smeared on them will definitely tempt mice into the trap. They love carbohydrates!
Just like millions of humans, mice also can’t resist the smell of bacon. Even when it’s raw, they still will be drawn to it. For the best results, fry it up, and you can even use the grease in the trap.
Smelly Soft Cheese
There is a common belief that mice can’t resist cheese, but this isn’t exactly true. What they do like, are those soft cheeses that have a stronger smell, like Blue Cheese, Brie or Camembert.
The Myth about Mice and Cheese
Every cartoon that includes mice almost always has them nibbling on a chunk of hard cheese. But in reality, they seldom are attracted to the good old regular cheeses. Mice are more inclined to go for the softer ones that are easier to eat, and the smell is stronger so they sense it easier.
Mice are actually highly attracted to foods that are carbohydrates, but they will eat cheese if there is nothing better on offer. This is why regular cheese isn’t good bait in the traps – they will nearly always find something else that is more appealing by roaming through your house and cupboards.
Baits that Aren’t Food
You don’t just have to use food as bait in your mouse traps. Another great option is to put in items the mice can use to build their nests. Female mice especially will be attracted to nesting materials in a trap. To make it even more efficient, place the trap with the nesting materials in an area where the mice are likely to nest. They commonly nest in attics, where it is dark and they seldom get interrupted by humans.
Good nesting materials include:
- Shredded paper
- Tissue paper
- Hay or straw
How to Set Your Trap
There are a variety of mouse traps available, including humane traps that don’t harm or kill the mouse. Some people prefer to just remove the live mouse from their home rather than deal with the dead body of a mouse.
These are the most common form or mouse traps, and perhaps the most violent! But they are definitely efficient. When the mouse takes the bait, a spring-loaded metal bar snaps down on the mouse. Some variations of the snap trap don’t kill the mouse, but keep it trapped instead for those who prefer a humane way of getting rid of the pest.
When baiting a snap trap, all you have to do is place the bait on the pressure-sensitive switch and wait for the mouse to try and take it. Be prepared to deal with the results though, as sometimes the mouse is badly injured but not killed outright, which can be a little upsetting to some people.
The Electronic Trap
These traps are quite new to the market but are proving to be rather popular. They are so easy to use and very effective at killing mice quickly. When the mouse enters the trap to get the bait, it is given a lethal electric shock, which kills the mouse almost instantly. In just a few seconds, the mouse is dead, but the body is intact which makes it nice and easy to dispose of.
Although they are lethal to mice, they are harmless to other animals such as pets, and will not injure children if they happen to pop their fingers in there. They are battery-operated and come in two varieties – multi-use and single use.
These are super easy traps to bait because it doesn’t matter where you place the bait, unlike the spring-loaded traps. Anywhere inside the trap is perfect.
Last but not least, is the live catch trap. These traps are good for those who don’t want to harm or kill the mouse; they just want to be able to remove it from their home. Live traps are like a small cage with a door, and when the mouse enters the cage, the door is triggered and the mouse is trapped inside.
The main issue with these types of traps is that you need to make sure you check them regularly, especially if you don’t want to cause any harm to the mouse. Otherwise, if you leave the mouse in there for too long, it will starve to death anyway. You also need to take the mouse quite a distance away from your home to release it, otherwise, it will most likely come back in again. This could end up being a repeated cycle of catching and releasing the same mouse!
Like with the electronic traps, it doesn’t matter where you put the bait, as long as it is inside the trap. The door is triggered when the mouse enters, there is no spring-loaded switch to activate the door, so you don’t have to fiddle around getting the bait in just the right place
Handy Tips for Maintaining Your Bait Traps
Setting the Trap
Make sure your hands are really clean before you set the trap, otherwise the odor may put the mouse off the bait. Alternatively, you could wear gloves to minimize the human smell when you set the bait and trap.
If you are still seeing signs of mouse activity in your home but the bait is still sitting in the trap, it would be a good idea to change the type of bait you are using. There may be something about the bait that isn’t appealing to the mouse. Leave the trap in the same position though, otherwise if you move it, the mouse may think there’s something to be wary of and be scared away from it.
Keeping it Fresh
If you are using bait in your trap, make sure you replace it regularly to keep it fresh. If the food starts to spoil and rot, the mouse will turn his nose up at it. It’s a good idea to change it every day.
Too Much Bait
If you put too much bait in the trap, it will be too easy for the mouse to just steal a portion of it and make a getaway. By keeping the amount smaller, like the size of a pea, the mouse has to get closer to it and is more likely going to be captured.
Picking the Right Spot
Mice are typically nocturnal, meaning they prefer to roam around at night, and the darker and more enclosed a space is, the keener they will be. They tend to be creatures of habit, and will usually travel the same pathways each night, because they know their way around and any potential obstacles that may be in their way.
In more open areas, the mouse will usually travel along beside a vertical surface, such as a wall or furniture. This helps them find their way and they feel safer instead of running across an open room where a predator may easily see them.
Placing your trap against a wall is more effective in trapping the mouse. You can also create an enclosed space by placing objects around the trap which will force the mouse in one direction – into the trap. If you do this, you need to make sure there are two entrance ways into the space for the mouse. If they can’t see a potential escape route, they won’t enter the area.
One Trap is Not Enough
Don’t get into the mindset of ‘one mouse one trap’; for every one mouse you suspect is in your house, there could be ten more. They are avid breeders, giving birth every 21 days to up to six babies at a time, so if there is a nest about, you have a big mouse issue.
Just setting one trap is not going to be enough. You need to set multiple traps in different areas to be truly successful.
Patience is a Virtue
Mice are generally scared of anything that is new in their area, so it may take a while for them to enter a trap. It could take several days before the mouse is willing to enter a trap, so you need to be patient. It’s not a bad idea to leave a trap in position for a few days without setting it or adding the bait, just to get the mouse used to it as a non-threatening object.
Whenever you are handling dead mice or rats it is really important to protect yourself from germs and diseases they may be carrying. Always wear protective gloves, then still wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of the dead pests.
The same applies when changing the bait or cleaning the trap. Mice leave a trail of urine and feces everywhere they go, so gloves and handwashing are essential hygiene practices you need to follow to protect yourself and your family.
Outsmarted By a Mouse
It’s not unheard of for a mouse to outsmart a trap. They are clever little creatures, and they seem to have a built in danger sensor that alerts them to any potential life-threatening risks. With some traps, particularly the snap traps, the mouse can sometimes manage to steal the bait without triggering the device. It’s not sure exactly how they manage this, but they can!
If your mouse is a ‘snatch and grab’ kind of mouse, constantly stealing the bait and escaping, consider using a different kind of trap. Also, if the bait isn’t taken at all, change it to something else. Either the mouse doesn’t like it, or he’s figured out the situation, so again, consider a different type of trap.